Sunday, December 12, 2004


I know that we’ve got company coming this weekend so thanks for taking a break from your holiday house cleaning to visit this space.

The big story in town of course is the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship Thursday and Saturday at the Long Beach Arena. It would have been nice to have the host team in the Final Four but youth was not served and youth, out-blocked and out-dugged and that was that for 2004.

The championship weekend of course will feature the annual national convention of coaches filling the cash registers downtown and with city scenes impressing the national televison audience. Officially we should report that Thursday’s lineup begins with Stanford facing Washington at 5:30 p.m., while two-time defending champion USC plays perennial Cinderella Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. Minn won their way out of a regional at the Pyramid last year and have another Long Beach connection, former Niner setter Jen Bowman, albeit buried on the bench.
So do yourself a favor and get some title flavor while the company’s here. It might be a good weekend to be Iowa by the sea again.

END GAME DUST–Winning teams struggle like losing teams but the difference seems to be what happens at the end. Exhibit 49 in that category was last weekend during the Beach’s come from ahead loss to Portland in the Blue Pointed Place.

A visiting player named Pooh Jeter likely his 24 point effort for the Pilot’s would just be a losers footnote, frustrating for him and his Coach Michael Holton who was a applicant for the Niner hoop job several times in the past. But after a clock-running-down three point miss by Cody Pearson (right shot wrong shooter), the both Louis Darby and Sam Byrd tried for tip ins as opposed to running off the final 11 seconds or trying to get fouled. End of game and food for thought. The Beach will chew on that December 20-23 when they holiday-tourney in Hawaii.

For those more home-bound, or those who figure LB is paradise without waiting in line at LAX, a great New Year’s resolution might be to get the old tennis elbow greased up when the 49er women's tennis team and coaching staff host Beach Tennis Day on January 15 at the 49er Campus Courts. The all-day instructional camp is open to the first 12 people who enroll.

And now the rest of the story. Years ago during the Greenberg era, I organized the first LB basketball Tip Off event. At the last minute some lottery money came available for guest speakers so we hired TV guy Billy Packer. There wasn’t enough time to sell out a ballroom so we ran what I called the world’s most expensive happy hour, a hundred bucks a pop and a no-host bar! Got about 35 folks and raised a nice chunk of change. Back to the net set, their entry fee is $500 but you do get lunch, a Hollywood style gift bag, undying love from team and coaches and no speeches.

We close today with a rare wildlife report. Critics have noted that we spend a lot of time reporting on official fun and games and have neglected the great outdoors. As some of you may have already deduced I have slipped off to Florida a tad early for the family holiday. Later I will lie about big fish but first I want to report on the unusual small-game trapping talents of my lovely sister-in-law Christine.

In between putting up with out of town guests, over-nighting kids, and massive office parties, Christine is the official hunter in her household. The Barber home is on the Banana River which was ruled by racoons, and their poor cousins the possums, before the SUV crowd settled in. One morning she awoke to see a critter had clawed through the patio screen and was working the trash in her kitchen. Quick to the humane society to rent a couple of traps, placed outside, and the current score is Christine 7, Critters 0.

Last add, the captured are not served for dinner but released into the wild "right next to a big dumpster in the woods," That’s a relative you gotta love.–DR. DAN


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